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Shipping your car overseas

If you are moving house to another country, you may wish to take your car with you. We list useful information about shipping your car overseas when moving to a new home abroad.

Shipping your car overseas

If you're preparing to move abroad and keen to bring your wheels, there are a few important automotive issues to consider first. It may be a viable option to ship your car overseas, but that depends on the destination.

If you plan to ship your car overseas to use when you're in you new home abroad, find out about getting an international driving permit.

Public transport

The first point to consider when preparing to move overseas is do you really need to bring your car? Research the local transport in the area you're moving to before you go. Public transport in the UK is not representative of other countries. Many places have extremely efficient tram and train services that can leave cars surplus to requirements.


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Shipping your vehicle

If you decide you need a car, weigh up the costs before you go. It may be cheaper to sell your car and buy a new one at the other end.

If cars are more expensive at your destination, the most common method used to transport vehicles overseas is shipping. It's worth looking into shipping your car with your household items at the same time to save costs. Discuss this with your international removals company if it is something you are considering.
You can also use Ro/Ro services, where you physically drive your car onto a vessel and proceed through the customs and quarantine channels yourself.

Some countries will only allow you to import your car if you have owned and used it for a minimum of 12 months. The shipping company you use should provide you with the most up-to-date information regarding import permits. 

Export paperwork

If you are planning to take your vehicle abroad for less than a year then you do not need to complete export paperwork. As a UK registered vehicle your car will still be subject to UK law while you are away, so you will need to maintain your UK road tax and have valid UK MOT and insurance certificates for UK roads.

If you plan to export your vehicle for 12 months of more, you will need to notify the DVLA. You will also need to complete and return the section 'Notification of Permanent Export' from your V5C registration document.

Customs for shipping your car abroad

It is always recommended that your car is thoroughly cleaned prior to shipment, as some countries will subject your vehicle to strict quarantine inspections upon arrival.
When shipping your car internationally from the UK Customs requirements vary from country to country, so always investigate local rules and regulations before you ship your car.

page last updated June 2015


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